How to Survive the Office Holiday Party

You can be the life of your company's end-of-the-year party while leaving the embarrassing next-day apologies to someone else.


Up next in Office Survival Guide (57 videos)

Between crazy bosses and creepy coworkers, it's a wonder you get any work done at all. Here's a little help.


You Will Need

  • Good timing
  • A filling pre-party meal
  • Appropriate attire
  • Professionalism
  • Social skills
  • Sobriety
  • An upbeat attitude
  • Water


  1. Step 1

    Go even if you don't want to

    A holiday soiree is like a staff meeting—just with more booze. Although the invitation won't tell you this, it's a work function, so attendance is mandatory. Also, before you invite a friend along for the ride, talk to the organizers and confirm whether "plus ones' are permitted.

  2. Arrive shortly after the party begins, and stay until other people begin to leave.

  3. Step 2

    Eat before you go

    While the drinks are guaranteed, the food isn't. Eat enough before you go so you can have a drink without feeling tipsy, and so you won't need to raid the hors d'oeuvres.

  4. It's tacky and unhygienic to double-dip.

  5. Step 3

    Dress appropriately

    Check with the organizer to confirm the dress code, and wear a tasteful, appropriate outfit.

  6. Step 4


    Mingle and introduce yourself. Now is the perfect time to network with those happily tipsy execs who don't quite know you yet.

  7. Drink a glass of water in between each cocktail. If your significant other is there, keep the PDAs to a minimum.

  8. Step 5

    Be professional

    Have fun, but be professional. The rules of the office still apply, so no gossiping, no over-sharing, no getting wasted, and no sexual contact with your co-workers.

  9. Step 6

    Keep it light

    Keep the conversation positive and light. Try to avoid talking about the office, monopolizing the conversation, or correcting people.

  10. Step 7

    Drink with your left hand

    If you've got a drink, hold it in your left hand. That way, your right hand will be clean and dry for handshakes.

  11. Step 8

    Beware of "merry Christmas"

    We know you mean well, but be wary of wishing people a "merry Christmas." Since not everyone celebrates Santa's big day, you're less likely to offend folks if you wish them "happy holidays."

  12. Step 9

    Express appreciation

    Before you hightail it out of there, make sure you sincerely thank the party organizers. It only takes a minute, and you'll come off like a class act.

  13. The top gaffe employees make at holiday parties is drunkenness, while flirting with coworkers or a colleague's spouse comes in at number two.